Overheard and Understood at Social Good Summit Day 2

September 24, 2012 BY Aaron Sherinian


Sometimes you don’t have to eavesdrop to hear what’s going on in conversations around you.  In fact, sometimes you are invited in.  This took place both online and offline today during Social Good Summit Day 2, and I am grateful I got the chance to hear, and engage, in some great exchanges.

Here are a few of the gems I heard, overheard, and helped expand during conversations today:

*   A tool by any other name…  It seems like our new media world is pumping out new platforms every day.  We have a lot more out our disposal in terms of communications tools than ever before.  But over and over again today, we heard that it’s not about the tools, it’s what you do with them.  During a conversation between a digital strategist and a producer from a national TV broadcaster, it was clear that social media wasn’t enough to drive traffic to particular stories.  It was the blend of compelling content and a deliberative strategy on how to use individual tools and blend them together that is making for improved conversations and increased viewership.

*   More is more. When it comes to conversations, more is more. It’s a favorite maxim of mine, and in this case it seemed to be coming from every corner of the Social Good Summit.  Bringing more people into the conversation is what helps create social good and prevents a select few from dominating a conversation, or limiting what we can do with it.  On two occasions I found myself in a conversation listening to people talk about the need to “build community” rather than just “run campaigns.”  From an breakfast with online moms to a chat with a community organizer and a COO, I heard about the need to find more people, make more connections, engender more trust, and see more results over a longer period of time through sustained online movements.

  *   Risk is risk and it’s not all bad.  While it was a very public conversation, I loved listening to the conversation with Amb. Susan Rice and Pete Cashmore.  They underlined something that I overheard on a few occasions during the day when it comes to living up to the potential of social media.  We’re not always eager to try something new, but by forcing ourselves to think, act, and engage differently via social media, we find that we adopt, adapt, and can advance at a faster pace.  Social media tools aren’t the replacement for smart communications and authentic engagement, but they do allow for us to experiment faster than every before.

By far, my most favorite thing to hear during Social Good Summit Day 2, was the phrase, “I’m so happy to see you.”  While plenty of people are posting and pinning and following people on their timelines every day, “offline moments” like this among the digitally connected generation are some of the best.

What did you overhear during Day 2?  Let us eavesdrop and learn!



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